Purchasing an RV is an exciting experience. Preparing for your trips, traveling to new locations, and the returning journey never become tiresome. After all, having your personal home-on-wheels compared to flying and hotel stays is incomparable. However, one huge consideration for purchasing an RV is where to store it when not in use. Do you have a plan for your RV once summer is over? If not, don’t worry. Harvest Hosts has your back. Here, we’ll discuss some RV storage options and how to prep your RV for storage. Get comfortable with your favorite drink and let’s dive in!
Bringing your RV home is an exciting experience, but finding a safe place to store your RV at home can be a breeze or a challenge, depending on where you live. Even if you cannot store your RV at your home, there are many other places and possibilities to choose from. Keep these options in mind before you even purchase an RV to help make your transition easier.
If you do not own your residence, it may be necessary to check with your landlord prior to bringing your RV home. Many apartment complexes or multiplexes do not have the parking space to accommodate RVs, and it can also violate some HOA rules to have an RV parked in the neighborhood. There are even some states, towns, and individual areas that do not allow RVs to be stored on a property. Be sure to check the rules and regulations in your area to be sure this is permitted before banking on this idea.
It’s best to park your RV off the street if possible. This is the safest choice for your RV, mainly due to the unpredictability of other drivers. However, if your RV cannot be parked off the street, consider these factors before parking your RV. How busy is the road? What’s the speed limit and average speed of drivers? Are there other large vehicles coming and going often (think: buses, street cleaners, trash trucks, etc.)? This will help to determine if street parking is a safe option for your rig.
If you live in an area that receives potentially dangerous weather, such as hail, hurricanes, or tornadoes, then it may be best to consider covered storage for your RV. Large carports or garages can be installed to help protect your RV from damage incurred by weather. Obviously a carport is a cheaper solution, however a garage can be multi-use for land owners. There are also RV shield covers that encase your entire RV in a protective, waterproof cover. However, these will not protect your RV from damaging debris, such as tree branches, in the event of a storm.
For most RV owners, a storage facility is the all-around safest choice for long-term storage. These range from simple parking spaces to fully-enclosed, temperature-controlled garages. Some storage facilities offer premium services, such as battery charging and snow removal. Search around to find the best one that will work for you and your RV.
Types of Storage
Below are the typical range of storage options for RVs found at most facilities.
Depending on where you live and the length of storage, a simple parking space can sometimes suffice. These are not recommended if you live somewhere with potentially damaging weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or hail storms. However, these can be affordable choices for short-term storage, especially paired with a cover or tarp.
Carports are typically considered to be the next tier of storage. These provide roof protection, but are open on the sides. Carports can mostly help protect your RV from hail, water, snow, or sun damage, but they don’t do much in terms of protection from heavier storms.
A covered garage is the most optimal storage for long-term RV storage. However, these are the most costly options. A garage should be enclosed on all sides and have a large access door. Ideally, each space should be privately separated by a wall, and each RV bay should have its own access. There are upgraded temperature-controlled garages that can help keep all parts of your RV in tip-top shape. While these aren’t necessary, they will keep your RV newer for longer.
Things to Look For
Deciding where to store your RV is a serious choice. There is a tremendous amount of trust going into this decision, so a facility should be chosen with care. Below are a few options to consider when making a choice on a facility.
Are other RVs stored there?
If your RV will be the only one stored at a particular facility, it could become a magnet for theft or vandalism. It’s best to choose a reputable RV storage facility, or even one that specializes in RV storage.
Is it secure?
The type of security is a crucial factor when selecting an RV storage facility. Be sure that the facility, at minimum, has working security cameras, a gate around the property, and proper lighting. Extra security measures can include computer-controlled gates where one must enter a security code to gain access to the property. Some RV storage facilities don’t allow customers in at all and utilize a valet service for parking RVs.
Is any pest control included?
This question would apply more to garage storage, since it’s nearly impossible for the outdoors to not have any pests. Indoor storage facilities should have regular pest control performed to help protect from rodents or bugs taking up residence in your RV. If pest control is not included, you will need to pest-proof your RV and possibly set some traps.
Is there someone on-site?
Having an employee on-site, even occasionally, is a must. There should be someone monitoring security, checking the premises, and checking on the RVs regularly.
How is their customer service?
Chances are high that you’re paying a pretty penny to store your RV. The facility should offer great customer service for whatever you may need. For instance, after a storm you may request that someone check on your RV for you. An RV storage facility with proper customer service should have no problem assisting you with this request.
Choose a Level Space
No matter where you’re storing your RV, it needs to be kept as level as possible. When choosing a spot on your property, typically the best choice is on a solid, even surface. If you’re parking your RV in your yard, look around and try to find the most level space for your RV. Most storage facilities should offer fairly level spaces. It may be necessary to use leveling devices for towable RVs if the space is very unlevel. However, it is typically unnecessary to deploy stabilizer jacks during storage.
Prepping your RV for Storage
If your RV was purchased recently, there shouldn’t be too much preparation required to store it. However, if you are returning it to storage after a vacation or a summer of fun trips, you will need to take a few more steps to ensure it is ready. You can use the following checklist to ensure nothing has been missed.
Empty all of the tanks
If your RV is fresh off the lot, please note that most dealerships do not keep water in the holding tanks, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. Be sure that the water tank and the black and grey tanks have been completely emptied out. If your black tank was not empty, it is best to flush out the tank with water and cleaner to prevent any odors from developing.
Turn off the fridge
It’s important for RV owners to check all appliances, especially the refrigerator, to ensure they are off before storage. This can also include the water heater, air conditioner(s), the heater, and any other appliances your rig may have.
Turn off the Propane
If your RV has an on-board ASME propane tank, be sure that the tank is turned off before storage. If your RV has small propane tanks, it’s best to turn them off and remove them entirely for longer periods of storage.
Add Fuel Stabilizer
If you intend to store your motorhome for more than a couple of months, be sure to add fuel stabilizer to the tank. Gasoline will evaporate over time and leave behind gunk and residue in your fuel systems. This can be detrimental to engines and generators alike. A fuel stabilizer will prevent the fuel from gumming up your parts.
Disconnect the Batteries
If your RV will be stored for longer than three to four weeks, be sure to disconnect and remove the battery. This will help to prevent your battery from dying. Unfortunately this isn’t a permanent fix. Even disconnected batteries will lose their charge starting at about six months. It’s recommended to charge your disconnected batteries about every twelve weeks to help maintain their charge. Depending on their features, most RVs have several batteries, so consult your manual about this before dropping your RV off in storage.
Disconnect Electrical Devices
If you will be storing your RV long enough to need the main batteries disconnected, be sure to disconnect or remove the batteries out of electrical devices, such as smoke detectors. Acid can begin to leak out of batteries that are stored too long in varying climates.
Winterize Your RV
If your RV will be stored in below-freezing temperatures at any point, it’s absolutely mandatory to winterize your RV. This lengthy process is covered in more detail in our other blog post to help you winterize your RV.
Purchasing an RV is all fun and games until you’re stuck figuring out where to store it. Don’t fret. Follow the tips above to figure out where you can store your RV and how to get it ready for storage. Figuring out all the details can be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro at storing your RV.
Do you store your RV at home or in a storage facility? Do you have any other tips for newbies? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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